MUSIC RVIEW | LCD Sound System – Sound of Silver (2007)


LCD Sound System was a band name I had always heard, but never paid any attention to. I think I assumed they were some sort of dance, or electronica act. But a couple of years ago, I saw a trailer for Shut Up and Play the Hits, a documentary following the band in the lead up to their final ever show. Not only was LCD Sound System way more popular than I ever knew, they were popular enough to sell out Madison Square Garden for their final show. How did they pass me by so completely? What kind of music do they even play? Have I really been missing out something all these years? Hopefully I will get the answers by listing to Sound of Silver.

A seven minute track is an interesting way to open an album. Not interesting in the way that means the song, Get Innocuous!, is interesting. But interesting in the way that I wonder what LCD Sound System was thinking when they decided to open Sound of Silver with a seven minute loop of synths, boring electronica and not very much else.

Things make an immediate shift for the better however, on Time to Get Away. There’s still a simple electronic loop at its core, but the addition of more prominent vocals, real drums and some bass and guitar, make it a quirky piece of musical fun.

At first, the sparse sound of Sound of Silver confused me. Doesn’t LCD Sound System have like seven or eight members?, I thought to myself, in the style of Don Draper getting to the bottom of the human condition. But when I looked at the credits for this album, I realised it really only seems to be front man, James Murphy’s world, he just lets other people play in it here and there. Every song has individual credits for who did what, the only common denominator is that usually, Murphy did most of it.

With North American Scum, I finally got a song that made me start to understand a little of the LCD Sound System notoriety. It’s loud, it’s messy, it’s got a hint of post punk to it and it’s great. Then, Someone Great reverts back to the simple, looped, electronica of earlier tracks. The difference being, Someone Great grabbed my attention and held it. There’s a little more going on, a little more variation in the blips and bloops, a little more to Murphy’s voice. All these ‘little mores’ add up to a big improvement.

And those two reactions basically sum up how I feel about almost all of Sound of Silver. The core ingredients of each song never really change much, but it’s how they’re used that does. The loops are plentiful, the traditional instruments are blended with the electronic sounds, and James Murphy is the only constant throughout. It’s the differing results of this repeated recipe that changes. It’s also what makes LCD Sound System and Sound of Silver so intriguing. How can such a narrow set of parameters create such a wide ranging set of outcomes?

LCD Sound System

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